The dawn of the Digital Age has resulted in an extraordinary boom in the use of technology. The advent of technology has led to the penetration of Information Technology (IT) into every sphere of our life. This blog will tell you how this has led to an explosion in digital forensics career opportunities.
While technology has been a facilitator for most functions, it has also brought with it an unavoidable devastation. The ever-increasing and ever-evolving cyber threats and digitally executed crimes. Therefore, jobs in digital forensics are blooming.
Digital Crimes Are on the Rise
Did you know that cybercrime is now the second most common form of economic crime?
In a survey conducted by an analytics firm, 31% of businesses reported experiencing losses due to cybercrimes. Out of these, only a handful of organizations had a robust defense mechanism in place for dealing with cyber threats.
Worse still, 54% of these firms had engaged in a cyber threat and risk assessment only once in two years! Another survey has revealed that 43% of organizations have faced ransomware attacks in the past one year.
So, where does your personal or organizational cybersecurity rank?
How Are Individuals Targeted by Cyber Criminals?
Not just organizations, there has been an increase in the targeting of cybercrimes at individuals too. As nations across the globe are going digital, the online presence of citizens is also booming.
The current generation has accepted digital wallets, online shopping, online banking and even online matrimonial pursuits with open arms. This has prompted the rise in the incidents of online banking and matrimonial frauds too.
Care for some statistics?
Reports show that people lose ₹ 2 lakh to banking frauds every hour! Last year, Indians lost nearly ₹ 178 crores to online banking scammers through credit/debit card and internet banking frauds.
This was the highest in the history of banking till date!
The Application of Digital Forensics in Criminal Justice
Digital Forensics is one of the many branches of Forensic Science. It deals with the recovery and analysis of evidence/material existing in digital devices. The application of digital forensics is mostly in crimes involving a computer.
The application of digital forensics was originally limited to the investigation/analysis involving data found on a computer i.e Cyber Forensics. However, with the evolution of forensic science and technology, digital forensics now encompasses all devices capable of storing digital information.
Branches of Digital Forensics
Digital Forensics involves the extraction and investigation of evidence found on any such device that stores digital data. Following are the different branches of digital forensics.
1. Computer/Cyber Forensics
2. Mobile Device Forensics
3. Network Forensics
4. Database Forensics
5. Audio/Video Forensics
Branches of Digital Forensics – Computer/Cyber Forensics
Computer Forensic is commonly known as Cyber Forensics. Its objectives include explaining the state of a digital evidence such as a storage medium, a computer system or an electronic document.
Cyber Forensics is one of the branches of digital forensics that includes computers, USB pen drives, hard disks, and all other digital devices that have basic computing power and storage memory.
A broad range of information comes under the purview of computer forensics.
Computer Forensics comes handy for the acquisition, extraction, and recovery of existing or deleted data from a computing/storage device. Right from logs in the internet history to the actual files on a storage device/drive.
Branches of Digital Forensics – Mobile Device Forensics
Mobile Forensics is another subsidiary branch of digital forensics that encompasses evidence found in mobile devices.
Wondering how the approach of mobile forensics differs from that of cyber forensics?
Mobile devices have their own built-in communication system such as GSM and normally have an exclusive storage mechanism. Mobile Forensics incorporate investigations focusing on communications (email/SMS) and call data rather than recovery of deleted/altered data.
Mobile Forensics is also applied during investigations that demand the location information. This is possible through the mobile’s inbuilt location tracking or GPS or with the help of cell site logs. Tracking of the location of a mobile device is commonly used in a wide range of investigations.
Branches of Digital Forensics – Network Forensics
Presently, most conduct their businesses and daily activities online. This has resulted in the uncontrolled surge in Internet-based crimes.
Network Forensics deals with the monitoring and evaluation of a computer network’s traffic. This includes both local as well as Wide Area Network (WAN)/Internet.
Network Forensics is different from the other branches of digital forensics as it often reactionary. It includes monitoring and analysis of LAN/WAN/Internet traffic (till the packet level), analysis of logs from a wide variety of sources, IP Tracing, and Email Forensics. The biggest application of Network Forensics is for extracting an evidence from a drive wiped clean.
Branches of Digital Forensics – Database Forensics
The forensic study and analysis of databases and their corresponding metadata is Database Forensics. Database Forensic Investigators recover information from database contents, in-RAM data and log files for building a timeline.
Database Forensics is also applied to validate commercial agreements for resolving legal disputes.
Database Forensics professionals need to have a good understanding of almost every aspect of database creation and use. They preserve, validate, investigate and extract data from massive, custom-created databases that cannot be just copied and carried to the office for investigation.
Branches of Digital Forensics – Audio/Video Forensics
Audio and Video Forensics is also a part of Digital Forensics that provides investigators with a real-time account of a crime. This enables forensic investigators to analyze the events that led to the crime and thereafter. However audio and video forensics is not as easy as it sounds!
Audio and video forensic professionals need to repair, extract, and enhance audio and video recordings before they analyze them. In the last decade, the use of audio and video forensics has seen a considerable increase. This is due to the widespread installation and use of CCTV cameras in public and private spaces.
Audio and Video Forensics includes CCTV video enhancements, License plate enhancement, and tracing, Facial Enhancement, Images/Pictures Enhancement, Images Authentication, Video Authentication, and Audio Authentication.
The Center for Advanced Research in Digital Forensics and Cyber Security
The Center for Advanced Research in Digital Forensics and Cyber Security (ARDC) seeks to pursue niche research in the domains of Cyber and Digital Forensics.
Through its dedicated research and development team, ARDC endeavors to assist Law Enforcement Agencies, and other public and private organizations with the latest digital forensic insights.
ARDC aims to educate Law Enforcement Agencies and other government/private organizations on the current vulnerabilities in the cyber threat landscape and the methods to mitigate them with the application of digital forensics.